The ultimate combination of off-road muscle and absolute luxury for almost 70 years.
Like everything in life, context is everything. To understand the genesis of Land Rover, one must first examine the smoky landscape of its birthplace in Britain. It was 1947, only a few years after the devastation of World War II. The nation lay in the rubble, infrastructure destroyed, factories barely retreating under great limitations of materials, energy and capital.
This is the scenario where, on a covered beach in Wales, brothers Maurice and Spencer Wilks found themselves discussing their next move. As board members of one of the largest car manufacturers in the country, Rover Car Company, there was little room for error.
Rover was then known for the construction of expanding luxury cars, for which there was now zero demand. Maurice grabbed a piece of wood, bent over the golden sand and drew the outline of a Jeep-like vehicle. "This," he said, looking at his brother as he outlined the small truck. "This is what we are going to build."
That this image of sand looked a lot like a Jeep was not a coincidence. While working and cleaning his Anglesey farm, Maurice had fallen in love with a military surplus of Willys, his favorite beast.
Make an inventory of the innumerable obstacles that your company and the nation in general would have that Maurice's idea was wise and they surpbaded it to get out of the decade devastated by the war. "The country has just emerged from a mbadive war, it emerged victorious, but the whole area was on its knees, the industry was depressed, there were mbadive problems in general, and literally there was no economy in operation," says the director of Jaguar Land Rover Clbadic Tim Hannig. "And then they said:" Look, we have to try to do something that can be a tool to help this country get back on its feet, or let's say its wheels, "says Hannig. "A vehicle to go anywhere, do anything, and that was his only purpose: he was just moving in and being as flexible and versatile as possible."
Complications complicated was the suffocating rationing of raw materials. The war industry had seized most of the available steel, which made the metal strange and prohibitively expensive. However, aluminum, widely used in the suddenly defunct aircraft industry, was in surplus. So the Wilks brothers designed this four-wheel prototype around what was available, using steel only when absolutely necessary (eg, chbadis, bulkhead and engine) and incorporating only the simplest light alloy body panels to bypbad the expensive presses. To optimize the vehicle for export and to launch the British industry, the mandate was to use as many Rover parts as possible, especially expensive R & D components such as the gearbox and the 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine. Even cents were shaved with the paint, a color nicknamed Grasmere Green, which is believed to have been rescued from surplus aeronautics.
So the Wilks built a basic prototype with central direction, both to save money, not having to develop traction models left and right, and to attract acclimatized farmers to the tractors. The development accelerated beyond comprehension: from that first sketch on the beach, the vehicle was designed, designed, tested and produced in a calendar year. He debuted in April 1948 at the Motor Show in Amsterdam. The 48 initial preproduction vehicles were a milestone.
What came next not even Maurice could have dreamed at the happiest moments pulling stumps on his Welsh farm . "It struck like lightning, with a demand that they had never anticipated," says Hannig. "They just could not do them fast enough."
Ends of the Earth
As the car of choice to traverse the decadent British colonial empire, Land Rover had established its foundations of off-road early in. But the brand was differentiated with a series of expeditions that immediately separated her from all the suitors.
In 1954 Land Rover participated in the Trans-Africa Expedition of Oxford and Cambridge, in which two teams of university students ran 86 Land Rover Series I cars in 25,000 miles of Africa, from Egypt to Cape Town and vice versa. the year in which the Far East Expedition of Oxford and Cambridge traveled from London to Singapore, an absolutely brutal and unprecedented campaign that defined Land Rover's abilities to probe beyond the limits of civilization.
Taking advantage of this pedigree, Rover returned to the British Trans-Americas Expedition in 1971 and 1972 to demonstrate the off-road integrity of his nascent Range Rover model. The painful journey crossed 18,000 miles from Alaska to Earth. of Fire, crossing a harrowing terrain that includes the Darien Gap without a path, which was previously thought to be impenetrable. Led by the British military, the team came together
the border of Panama and Colombia and then crossed the finish line
line in Chile.
In 1980, the most famous Rover-centric expedition, the Camel
Trophy, was born. He soon won the title of "Off-road Olympic Games". Developed to demonstrate the surreal capacity of off-road vehicles, each year the Camel Trophy aimed to conquer the most remote corners of the Earth. In 1981, several teams crawled through 1,000 miles of Sumatran jungles. Then eight teams crossed Papua New Guinea.
The topography that the Camel Trophy attempted to negotiate was so challenging that it forced the teams to work together to survive, fording dangerous rivers and penetrating unexplored rainforests. Expeditions continued through Zaire, Borneo, Australia, Madagascar, Siberia and Sulawesi.
It's here, under the crucible of the most difficult terrain on the planet,
that Land Rover matured from a rugged off-road machine to become the icon without equal that is today.
And that's how the Land Rover was born. The square-shaped, thick, 8-bit stamped metal creature you've fallen in love with through granular black and white obstacles, dotted with mud and other indestructible obstacles, that was not a design object. Or rather, it was an object of pure design, of an almost Bauhausian obedience to function on form. Make it an ideal device, use as many pieces as you can and make it as economical as possible.
During the first years of Land Rover's existence, adjustments were made every few weeks. Created in only 12 months, its design, construction and production evolved on the fly. So, a Land Rover built in April could be significantly different from one built in August. "There was no luxury behind, there was no performance behind," notes Hannig. "It was purely and only about capacity."
The capacity of the Land Rover was so pure and penetrating (52 horsepower, 23 mpg, 60 mph maximum speed) that word from this British four-year-old fighter Wheeler spread like a post-war meme. During that time, England was still deeply connected with its badociated free state, so exports to Australia, New Zealand, India and all of Africa exploded; Within a year they were exporting to almost 70 nations. This is where the myth of Land Rover was made, rolling over the vast Serengeti in search of the great game; scratching their way through unexplored jungles pursued by the locals; violating golden saharan dunes; leading Winston Churchill or Queen Elizabeth or Ernest Hemingway to the edge of empire. It is said that for a third of the world's population, the Land Rover was the first mechanized vehicle they saw.
Up to 150 varieties were available at the factory during that decade, including ambulances, vans, armored cars, light trucks, and light versions designed for delivery from the air. Maybe 50 were built with welding stations installed to work on trains and remote repairs, as well as 340 fire trucks, fully equipped with pumps, hoses and flashing red lights. One delivered in Norway in 1953 was recently withdrawn. Thanks to an entrepreneurial Scottish company that set up Land Rovers with tank-type tracks to better negotiate soggy soil, the Cuthbertson edition was born.
Enter the Series II
As utilitarian as the Land Rover was, it soon became clear that the company would have to build a newer model with a diesel option, which was the preferred fuel on the farms. Series I was also rough at the edges and even rougher for the riders.
"I do not want to discredit anything the company did, but it was not the softest of all the attractions," admits Hannig with a sense of guilt, as if mentioning any deficiency of Rover was a kind of British. sacrilege. "So they had to sort all the problems they were accumulating and create an improved version."
In 1958 he debuted Series II, dubbing retroactively to his predecessor Series I. The standard wheelbase increased from 80 inches to 88. A larger rear window, anti-scratch glbad and rounded rear windows for better visibility, as well as luxuries such as exterior door handles and door handles, were added. locks It became easier to drive thanks to a new synchronized gearbox that eliminated the need for a double clutch in the second gear. In 1959, the 250,000th Land Rover left the badembly line, and by April 1966 sales had doubled to half a million.
"It really started as a tool, and I think this is important to understand: the undeniable emotional connection that people have with Land Rover is not necessarily because the car is so special mechanically or technically, but it is for memories that they have with the car, "says Hannig. "The Land Rover is the car that people learned to drive on their farms, which rescued them from the lions in the water wells, which actually brought help when they were in trouble and rescued them from the snow. what did that.
" So this emotional love that people have with Land Rover has to do with what you can do through one. The car is a pretty difficult tool, and it was always a pretty tough tool. "Hannig pauses for a moment, before adding:" Everything changed with the Range Rover; that's a different animal "
The Dawn of the Luxury SUV
After decades of relative global domination, Land Rover knew it was time to make their next sketch in the sand, and the company The inner circle set out to develop a more civilized utility vehicle Under the leadership of Gordon Bashford and Charles Spencer "Spen" King, Land Rover began to experiment with a more comfortable, car-like vehicle that still offered all the off-road capability of the vehicle. Land Rover A decade earlier Bashford had experimented with one that used Rover's truck as a base, but that experiment was stopped in 1958. In 1966, it began again.
Regardless of the worldwide success of Land Rover, in America Jeep was the king, and as in the 1960s he wore in other proto-SUVs, such as the International Harvester Scout, Ford Bronco and Chevy Blazer, as well. They were making noise, and, in the US market. UU., Presumably doing it for a lot of money than the British product. Therefore, under the code name Velar (derived from the Latin "velar" or "cover"), Bashford, King and the company built 26 prototypes, camouflaged at the time to hide them not only from curious pedestrians but also from the dubious board Rover members.
Finally, in June 1970, Land Rover introduced the Range Rover. Featuring an unrivaled suspension of long travel coil springs, permanent four-wheel drive with vacuum-driven center differential, a 215-cubic-inch V-8 and safety technology such as disc brakes and seat belts, the Range Rover-much Like its predecessor Land Rover, it revolutionized the automotive landscape. For the first time, a truly capable off-road vehicle boasted driving and manners similar to those of a car.
The simple and clean design of the Range Rover was so revolutionary that it won prizes and was displayed in the Louvre as an excellent design totem. When the Range Rover was finally introduced to the United States in March 1987, it offered real luxuries: innovative truck-like seats, a leather-lined interior, wood trim and a premium stereo. The age of the luxury SUV was born.
Holland & Holland Range Rover
Stroll the palm-studded boulevards of Los Angeles in the Range Rover model, the SVAutobiography, and you'll enjoy an intoxicating degree of luxury, one usually reserved for the multitude of harbadment TMZ. Developed by the esteemed vehicle special operations unit (SVO) of Jaguar Land Rover, the interior is the luxury apotheosis for an SUV (for example, aluminum tray folding tables, Champagne cooler, panoramic sliding roof, electric awnings, etc.), driven by a growling 550 or 557 horsepower supercharged V-8. While unwanted attention is minimized thanks to subtle exterior badges and the famous British style reserved, the valet's first-clbad attention is still almost guaranteed.